Dr. Charles has done a terrific job on the 100th edition of Grand Rounds. I'm honored to be included!
And I had some kind of coming-of-age myself yesterday, when I received my first really nasty blog comment: someone who identifies as Catholic responding to my Gormless Medical Brigade post to say, among other things, that any doctor who believes that a woman has an STD is entitled to look down on her.
Let me just say that none of my Catholic friends would share that viewpoint.
And let us pray most devoutly that this visitor, who came here via last week's Grand Rounds, isn't a medical caregiver.
This is why I moderate comments, even though I might get more if I didn't. As far as I'm concerned, the blog is the cyber-equivalent of my living room, and I'm not going to leave the door open for anyone to walk in and trash the furniture.
I thought for a while about how to moderate that comment. I could have rejected it, of course, except that I also believe in the First Amendment, and the post does raise some important issues. (So far, the only comments I've rejected are outright spam.) I thought for a while about incorporating it into an actual post to address those issues, but that would be giving it too much weight. So I finally decided to accept it and respond to it with a comment of my own. I doubt that the visitor -- who chose to remain anonymous -- will be back to read my response, although I'd love to be wrong about that. But I'm still getting hits from last week's Grand Rounds, and this way, anyone who cares enough to read the comments will be able to read that one and see what I said.
Gary and my friend Lee think I did a good job responding. My basic point was that shame is bad medicine (not to mention bad religion). With STDs, there's also a public-health issue. Patients who feel humiliated won't return for treatment, which is bad news for their partners. This is why San Francisco has a free health clinic for sex workers, so those women and men can receive nonjudgmental, caring medical treatment in an environment where they feel safe.
I'm sure my Catholic commenter would be scandalized by the very idea, but I strongly suspect that Jesus thoroughly approves.
The Catholic commenter came back and posted a very thoughtful and respectful response, to which I've now responded. I'm delighted that my assumptions about this person have been proven wrong, and that we seem to be having an actual conversation. How refreshing, especially in cyberspace!